When is the best time to start orthodontic treatment?

A very common question we are asked often is, what is not too young or when is the best time to start treatments?  The easiest way to measure is after your child has lost their primary teeth and the permanent teeth are growing in.  This is when many of the indicators present themselves.  It may be a lack of jaw space which could lead to overcrowding teeth.  This often results in an overbite or cross bite, resulting in a malocclusion.

Age seven is generally a good age to visit an orthodontist.  It is typically a good age to spot indicators of what you may anticipate when the rest of the permanent teeth finally start to erupt through the gums.  It is at this age which children are on the cusp of losing those baby teeth and permanent teeth are taking over. Although all baby teeth may not be gone, at this age an orthodontist can often gauge the need for further care.

Once the need for braces has been determined, there are a few factors which come into play as to when is the best time to start treatment:

Although there is not a set age to get started, customarily treatment can start once the child has lost most of their baby teeth. This can be anywhere between ages eight to eleven.  While there may be initial discomfort, starting as early as possible, especially to correct a severe malocclusion, is best. An early start allows for correction while teeth and bones in gum tissue are still forming and growing. The older the patient, the longer it takes to shift teeth to their correct position. Therefore starting early can shorten the process.   The severity of the malocclusion may also dictate when to start the treatment and the type of orthodontics that are needed. If only moderate corrections are needed, waiting may be advised until more permanent teeth have come in.

Parents and caregivers can help by providing clues for the Orthodontist about needed treatment and when to get started.  Things like; if the patient sucks their thumb or fingers? Is there any difficulty in breathing or swallowing? Does the child breathe with their mouth open the majority of the time? Although Dr. Larson will often recognize these issues during a consultation, affirmation from the parent and commitment to pursue correction is vital.

A young child may not appreciate the reward of early intervention; however, the results will speak for themselves. Straight teeth will provide the basis for excellent oral health while the aesthetic value will lead to a lifetime of beautiful smiles.  Contact Dr. Larson by calling (405) 378-4774 to schedule an appointment today.